Monday, 4 June 2012

Episto-WTF? An Introduction to Epistomology

An engineer, an experimental physicist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher were hiking together through the hills of Scotland. They reached a hilltop. Looking over to the nexthilltop, they saw a black sheep. 

In delight, the engineer cried, “What do you know? The sheep in Scotland are black!” 

“Well, some of the sheep in Scotland are black,” replied the experimental physicist. 

The theoretical physicist considered this a minute, then said, “Well, at least one of the sheep in Scotland is black.” 

The philosopher thought for a second, then responded, “Well, it’s black on one side, anyway.”

What is epistomology? is a question that comes up a lot in my lectures so I thought id try for a brief introduction...it is a philosophical concept that is fundamental to doing research...

Essentially it is the branch of philosophy that looks at notions of knowledge, particularly tackling the question of whether something can ever be considered true or not.....if your a determinist you believe truth is out there (and in many cases quantitative researcher you are more likely to seek generalisable truths)... although in reality many scientists might shy away from the idea that scientific method can find truth rather than approximations...

....if you are a social contructionist you are more likely to see truth as a somewhat ridiculous concept given that "truths" are constructed socially, through dominant narratives that can keep us from living 'preferred' lives...

Of course, it all lies on a continuum..grounded theory is more likely to be modernist, unless you go round the post-modern turn by using situational analysis... interpretative phenomenology is somewhere in the middle (contructivist?)...discourse analysis looks directly at deconstructing language and revealing how notions of truth can be nothing more than power plays..

....below excellent slides re: psychology
Epistemologies for qualitative research
View more documents from marilini1ili

...a brilliant article HERE
Making connections: The relationship between epistemology and  research methods

The Australian Community Psychologist                                                                                                                     Volume 19  No 1 May 2007
Dawn Darlaston-Jones
University of Notre Dame, Australia
The ability to identify the relationship between the epistemological foundation of research and the methods employed in conducting it is critical in order for research to be truly meaningful. Unfortunately this connection is  often not taught in the research methods classes that most psychology students experience. Indeed the very names of these units emphasises the focus on methods and consequently the epistemology, theoretical frameworks and methodologies that influence the choice of  methods remain ‘hidden’ from view. This paper brings into focus these hidden (or often overlooked and ignored) elements of research and illustrates the importance and relevance  by drawing on example from the author’s research into the student experience of higher education.  

No comments:

Post a Comment